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Age of Empires III

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

This page is for the original release. For the Definitive Edition, see Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition.

Age of Empires III
Age of Empires III cover
Ensemble Studios
The Asian Dynasties Big Huge Games
Last patch set[1] Robot Entertainment
macOS (OS X) Westlake Interactive
Microsoft Game Studios
Re-releases Ubisoft
OS X MacSoft
Release dates
Windows October 18, 2005
macOS (OS X) September 29, 2006
Metacritic 81
Monetization One-time game purchase, Expansion pack
Microtransactions None
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Bird's-eye view
Controls Multiple select, Point and select
Genres RTS
Themes Asia, North America, South America
Series Age of Empires
Age of Empires III on HowLongToBeat
Age of Empires III guide on StrategyWiki
Age of Empires III on MobyGames
Age of Empires III on Wikipedia
Age of Empires 1997
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings 1999
Age of Mythology 2002
Age of Empires III 2005
Age of Empires Online 2011
Age of Empires II: HD Edition 2013
Age of Mythology: Extended Edition 2014
Age of Empires: Castle Siege 2014
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition 2018
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition 2019
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition 2020
Age of Empires IV 2021
Age of Mythology: Retold 2024


The macOS (OS X) version of this game does not work on macOS Catalina (version 10.15) or later due to the removal of support for 32-bit-only apps.

Age of Empires III is a singleplayer and multiplayer bird's-eye view RTS game in the Age of Empires series.

After its release, the game received The War Chiefs expansion in October 2006 and The Asian Dynasties in October 2007 (the latter by Big Huge Games), with new civilizations, campaigns and mechanics. The latest official patches developed by Robot Entertainment (founded by some of the ex-Ensemble staff after its closure) also removed the SmarteSECURE DRM, leaving only a serial key requirement.

The game runs stable on modern systems. Age of Empires III is the only Ensemble-era game in the series with official servers still online, but as of 2021 an official patch is required to change the domain lookup as Microsoft no longer controls the original domain. These servers are no longer actively supported and account loss can not be remedied. The ESOCommunity fansite maintained interest in this iteration of the game with its community patch until the release of the Definitive Edition, which has replaced the original in competitive play, and with ESOCommunity retaining its position as a community hub and frequent event host.

General information

Official website for the series
Official Discord server for the series
Age of Empires Wiki
Official support knowledgebase
ESOCommunity home to the ESOC Patch and the competitive multiplayer community Large file database with lots of custom content File database with many game replays
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
SmarteSECURE DRM - removed in latest patches (1.14/1.06/1.03).
macOS (OS X)
Humble Store
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Complete Collection.
CD key
Complete Collection. Steam DRM check is present only on first launch while the serial key for the entire collection is applied to the registry; the game can be run without Steam afterwards by launching from any of the executables.[2]
Renamed to Age of Empires III (2007)[Note 1] on October 15, 2020 due to the release of the Definitive Edition.
Windows (unavailable)
Icon overlay.png
Non-Steam version also available.
Games for Windows Marketplace (unavailable)
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Was marketed as Age of Empires Complete Edition, for unknown reasons.[3]
Online features require an Ensemble Studios Online (ESO) Account (registered in-game).
Retail CD keys for the Complete Edition can be activated on Steam (US version only).[4]
Free demo versions are available from GameFront: base game (Windows), base game (OS X) The War Chiefs, The Asian Dynasties.

Version differences

The Gold Edition is includes the base game and The War Chiefs expansion pack.
The Complete Collection is includes the base game and both expansion packs. It is the only digital release.


Type Notes
Expansion pack The expansion packs include new civilizations, units, mechanics and campaigns.
One-time game purchase The game requires an upfront purchase to access.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
The WarChiefs Added 8 maps, 3 civilizations, 2 plot acts, warchief units, revolutions and stealth.
macOS (OS X)
The Asian Dynasties Added 3 Asian Civilizations, each one with a campaign, wonder and the new export resource. As well as 6 new native civilizations.
macOS (OS X)

Essential improvements

Skip intro videos

Use the +noIntroCinematics command line argument[5]


The latest official patch for the base game is v1.14
The latest official patch for The Warchiefs expansion is v1.06
The latest official patch for The Asian Dynasties expansion is v1.03
For macOS (OS X), see the archived patch page
The Windows patches are also available from the official support knowledge base.
As of 2021, an official patch is available for fixing a connection issue caused by the official ESO multiplayer server domain change. Note that it causes an version mismatch with players who do not have it installed.

Unofficial patches

The unofficial ESOCommunity (ESOC) patch for The Asian Dynasties includes a wide range of balance changes and bug fixes, as well as additional maps for skirmish and multiplayer. Its development ended after the release of the Definitive Edition, but its balance changes were used as a reference for this edition's balancing at launch.

Game data

In-game general settings.
In-game general settings.
In-game UI settings. The "Enable IME" option under "Regional" is not shown.
In-game UI settings. The "Enable IME" option under "Regional" is not shown.

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\Users\
macOS (OS X) $HOME/Documents/Age of Empires III/Users/
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/105450/pfx/[Note 2]

Save game data location

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\Savegame\
macOS (OS X) $HOME/Documents/Age of Empires III/Savegame/
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/105450/pfx/[Note 2]

Save game cloud syncing

System Native Notes
Requires enabling backup of the Documents folder in OneDrive on all computers.
Steam Cloud
Homecities can be saved on the official ESO multiplayer platform (effectively in a cloud).


In-game video settings (1/2).
In-game video settings (1/2).
In-game video settings (2/2).
In-game video settings (2/2).

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
HUD is partially stretched.[6]
4K Ultra HD
Some in-game texts becomes small.
Field of view (FOV)
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Game has no borders at max resolution when in windowed mode.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.


In-game key map settings.
In-game key map settings.

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
For scroll speed.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Controller types


In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Stereo only.[7]
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Royalty free audio


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
A fan translation by kds: base game, videos, The WarChiefs, Complete Edition
Retail only.
Brazilian Portuguese
Retail only.


Online features require an ESO Account (registered in-game).

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
Online play

Connection types

Type Native Notes
Direct IP
Enter in-game or use OverrideAddress= and hostPort= parameters.[8]


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 80, 2300
UDP 2300-2310
This game supports Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for automatic port configuration.

VR support

3D modes State Notes
User created game profile (Complete Collection); see vorpx forum profile introduction.

Issues fixed

Game crashes on startup

Run the game as administrator and/or in compatibility mode for Windows XP SP2

"MSXML4.0 is not installed correctly" on startup

Reinstall MSXML 4.0. Use the installer on the disc, the <path-to-game>\msxml subdirectory on Steam, or official download
This error may appear as a blank error message/dialog box, with no text and just an error icon.

ESO servers inaccessible

Apply the official ESO patch

As of September 1, 2021, Microsoft no longer owns the domain. To make sure the multiplayer mode of Age of Empires III points to a backend that is under their control, they have released a patch (requires the latest retail patch or the Steam version).[9]

Note that this patch causes a version mismatch with players who do not have it installed.

ESO account support

Problems with ESO accounts like lost passwords are handled through the Account Management Tool on the official site.
Microsoft and associated parties are unable to provide support for these accounts,[10] despite reports of stolen or otherwise inaccessible accounts over the years.[11] [12]

Failed to join in multiplayer

This is the most common error suffered with Age of Empires III multiplayer. This error can be caused by many problems, and consequently, there are many methods to try to repair it. After each of the numbered solutions, attempt connecting to several games in multiplayer; only proceed to the next if you are still experiencing issues.

1. Allow ESO server more time to load
This solution needs to be done on each login.
  1. Log in to ESO.
  2. Stay on the home page and wait about 10 minutes. Do not whisper to friends, check clan info, or go to any other tab.
  3. After 10 minutes, the problem may now be fixed. The Home Page can now be left.
2. Try power cycling network hardware
  1. Turn off the modem, router, and PC.
  2. Wait a few minutes.
  3. Turn them back on in the listed order.
3. Ensure the game executables are listed in the firewall's exception list
4. Switch from wireless Internet connection to a wired one (if applicable)
5. Toggle UPnP on/off
6. Try port forwarding UDP and TCP ports 80, 2300-2310 or 2300-2340
7. Override the port to 2300 by using the OverridePort="2300" command line argument
8. Override the game to use the correct IP address by using the OverrideAddress= command line argument
9. Set the router to DMZ mode

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9.0c
OpenGL 2 OS X only.
Shader Model support 3.0
ExecutablePPC 32-bit 64-bit Notes
macOS (OS X)
32-bit only.


Middleware Notes
Audio DirectSound [1]
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer Ensemble Studios Online (ESO)

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 1.4 GHz
System memory (RAM) 256 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 4 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce FX 5500
ATI Radeon X300 series
64 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Windows 98SE, ME, and 2000 have found to work with the game with few issues, but they are not officially supported.
macOS (OS X)
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10.3.9
Processor (CPU) IBM PowerPC G4/G5 1.4 GHz
Intel 1.4 GHz
System memory (RAM) 512 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 2 GB
Video card (GPU) 64 MB of VRAM


  1. 2007 being the release date of The Asian Dynasties, not the original Age of Empires III.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Notes regarding Steam Play (Linux) data:


  1. Shown in the latest patch changelogs. Worth noting is that the company was founded by some former Ensemble Studios staff immediately after its closure.
  2. Verified by User:Plok on 21 November 2022
  3. Games for Windows Marketplace launches Nov. 15 - last accessed on 19 August 2022
  4. Retail / Digital CD Keys - CD-Key - Knowledge Base - Steam Support - last accessed on May 2023
  5. No Intro Cinematics - Age of Empires III Heaven Forum - last accessed on 2024-03-31
  6. Age Of Empire III 21:9 Review (2560x1080) (60fps) (Ultrawide) - YouTube - last accessed on May 2023
  7. How do I enable surround sound? - Age of Empires III Heaven Forum
  8. Direct IP? Is it working? - Age of Empires III Heaven Forum
  9. Age of Empires III: CC ESO Patch - Age of Empires Support - last accessed on 2022-11-26
  10. FAQ - ESO and Multiplayer - Age of Empires Support - last accessed on 2022-11-26
  11. Stolen account!!! - Age of Empires III Heaven Forum - last accessed on 2022-11-26
  12. My Account Back : aoe3 - last accessed on 2022-11-26